The Mystic crew (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)
If you are walking down 12th Ave and the sign is out, you know a small pocket of Capitol Hill food and drink community is open for you to stop in, talk with the people making something new to taste, and have a glass of neighborhood kombucha.
Mystic Kombucha quietly opened its new tasting room and kombucha bar a few weeks back. But the goal has been more to create a hangout than a new point of sale.
“By design, I was like, how can we not have a counter here,” founder Carlos da Silva said on a recent “tour” of the puny eight by fourteen foot space along 12th Ave.
Covered in raw cedar and purposefully reminiscent of a sauna, da Silva’s new Mystic showroom isn’t the kind of place you’ll want to settle into with a laptop. Stopping in for a drink means zero separation between staff and customer. You’ll have no choice but to render an opinion of the kombucha creations on tap. Unless you can take the close-up, face-to-face silence. Give it a try.
“How can we create something in this neighborhood where people feel they can connect with each other,” da Silva said of the genesis for creating a purposefully tiny tasting room. There is reportedly five times more room behind the walls, unused except for a small kegerator and a refrigerator.
Mystic got its start on 12th Ave in the kitchen at nearby Scratch Deli. da Silva and Caitlin Matteson grew the scobies and the business and now go throw “a keg a day” at cafes across the city plus “numerous kegs” every Sunday at the Broadway farmers market. In the meantime, a community of kombucha is growing in Central Seattle. Seattle first kombucha brewery, CommuniTea opened its new facility and tap room at 21st and Union earlier this spring.
da Silva said the goals for Mystic on 12th will remain small. Hours for the tasting room will vary. Watch for the a-frame sign to be out and people hanging out in the streetside space. There will be food and drink pop-ups from like-minded producers from time to time and da Silva said he is also hoping to make the space available for small community gatherings.
“We’re not here to sell you kombucha,” he said. “The real goal is to create intimacy and connection between the people who like kombucha and the people who work for mystic.”
Mystic Kombucha is located at 1711 12th Ave. You can learn more at facebook.com/mystickombucha.